The Collect for today, the last Sunday before Advent, from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer:
‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord.’
The opening words of the Collect have given this Sunday the nickname of ‘Stir up Sunday’, traditionally the time to make the Christmas pudding. In spite of all the excellent supermarket alternatives there will no doubt still be some traditionalists (like me) stirring up a storm today.
But of course it’s about rather more than dried fruit and brandy.
It is not unbelievers but God’s faithful people who pray to be stirred up, rescued from apathy, energised, renewed. The gift of faith brings with it a call to action, allowing God to work in and through us. We pray that he will take our will, so that we may come to want what God wants, and be used in his service. To be blessed in this way is itself our ‘plenteous reward’.